Realizing that those he loved were dying from drinking made Nate realize that it was time he embraced a Naked Life.
Dying from Drinking
Several weeks ago a close friend of mine drank so much he decided that attempting suicide would be a good option (let’s use the name Taylor). Thank God Taylor passed out from intoxication before being able to do anything more. I haven’t drank alcohol since I found out – today is day 15. I don’t feel like drinking. In fact, I’m at the point now that I recognize that alcohol, like suicide, has taken far more from my life than it has given. The thought of never having another drop of alcohol brings me contentment.
Those We Love
In 2010, my grandfather committed suicide. It was gruesome. The pain was searing. The emotions were like none I had ever experienced. How could someone in such a loving family do something like that? I’m turning 30, 8 years after that, and I still don’t know if I can answer that question. It’s not that I shy away from that question. It’s that I still can’t figure out why my own grandfather felt like he needed to not exist anymore. There were health problems, granted, but I would gladly have taken care of him if I truly understood the alternative. In his depraved version of taking away his physical burden, my grandfather delivered an emotional burden that nothing except the act of taking your own life away can bring. Now, 8 years later, I’m still sad, still angry, and still tender for the selfless man who’s life ended with a very selfish action. I miss you every day, Papa.
My world would have ended as I knew it if Taylor’s suicide attempt had ended his life. As it is, I’ve ugly cried, lost sleep, and been far more stressed than I’ve been in some time. Thinking about the alternative outcome of reality literally stops me mid-thought. It makes me want to simultaneously hug my mother and embrace my childhood blankie indefinitely. And yes, I am a 30-year-old man. And Taylor is still here. I can’t imagine if Taylor wasn’t. We talked yesterday on the phone for an hour. We’re planning a road trip together. We still get to spend face-to-face time together. While the pain is not even close to what it could have been, the last few weeks have been an all too real reminder of the searing pain of suicide – a pain that I don’t even wish on the people that I would refuse to get a cup of coffee with. Dying from drinking is not okay.
The scary part about alcohol is that it lures, traps, and ensnares people into its sexy clutches. And although the immediate health risks of drinking are significant (and not to be overlooked), what I can’t stop thinking about is how alcohol is mostly to blame for Taylor’s suicide attempt. It, over the course of about six months, heaved the nicest, most fun-loving human being (adventurous child, dedicated sibling, and fierce friend) into near oblivion. He thought dying from drinking was a viable solution to a problem.
Bringing It All Back
What has happened in the last few weeks have resurfaced a pain that I hoped never to personally experience again. But I am a firm believer that the pain in life exists as a catalyst for change. Few things motivate change like pain. And for me, what needed to change was my addiction with alcohol. I not only have seen alcohol trap Taylor, I have seen it personally take others’ lives, destroy friendships, tell lies, give gnarly hangovers, and change what I love about myself.
Wasn’t Always Like This
I didn’t drink until I was 21. My older brother was a phenomenal role model in that respect – every time I was with him (even when he could legally drink) he never made alcohol the focus. In fact, I can’t remember if I ever saw him drinking before I turned 21, except at Thanksgiving dinner. When I turned 21, I was in the middle of finals week in engineering school. I studied through when most people would have gone to the bars. My friends made me some coffee with Bailey’s in it because they weren’t about to let me have a dry 21st birthday. I didn’t even drink enough to get buzzed. Further, I was known as one of the few who didn’t drink. I advocated for enjoying life in college without alcohol. Fun Friday nights that we remembered and hangover-free Saturday mornings were what made college worthwhile for me.
Everything changed when I first used alcohol to cope with my emotions. The next statement describes my life from that point until now, with an embarrassing level of accuracy.
I would have a hard day and I knew that alcohol would take the edge off. One turned into seven. Adventure turned into complacency. Depression creeped in and soon enough, I was entangled in the snares of alcohol addiction so tightly that I forgot how to live without it. I have given alcohol free reign in my life for 8 years, 9 months, and 2 days. On September 9, 2018, I decided to give up alcohol for life. It has taken so much in the last 3,200 days, things that I will never get back. It has taken enough! I don’t like myself when I drink. I don’t like other people when they drink. Alcohol not only turns good people into fools, it deceives them into believing lies.
I’m Not Dying From Drinking
Now, I didn’t start drinking when my grandfather took his own life, but I definitely didn’t stop. I am humbled that it took one of the most important people in my life attempting suicide while inebriated to wake me from this nearly decade-long nightmare. I wish it didn’t have to happen like this, but I’m grateful this incomprehensible pain has encouraged such a drastic shift back to who I loved being.
Are you afraid of dying from drinking? Stop the cycle and start reading This Naked Mind today!
Share Your Story
Annie, thank you for being so brave as to share your story. You have reminded me that the times in my life when I was undoubtedly myself were before I started drinking. I’m excited to find that person again. I’m excited to smile again!? Please share your story to help others!